New Legislation to Help Veterans in Wake of Identity Theft
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs, today announced he has cosponsored legislation, the Veterans Identity Protection Act (HR 5464) to help assist 26.5 million Veterans who have been put at risk by the identity theft that recently occurred at the Department of Veteran Affairs.
"The theft of personal information is a travesty and insult to the 26.5 million American veterans, and all veterans for that matter, who have honored their country in the armed services," Smith said. "For these heroes to now be saddled with a new burden of re-securing their own identities because of a breach of security at the VA is outrageous."
Smith said the legislation he is supporting "offers assistance to the veterans who have been put at risk and pushes the VA to take specific actions so that this does not ever happen again."
As introduced by Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), HR 5464 requires the Veterans Administration to provide a free credit report every 3 months for a one year time frame, and provide one year of free credit monitoring to every Veteran whose personal information was compromised. The legislation also requires the VA to implement all security recommendations made by the Inspector General of Veterans Affairs in their March 2005 Audit of the Department of Veterans Affairs Information Security Program by January 1, 2007.
"I am deeply concerned about the millions of American veterans and their families who were victimized by this security breach," Smith said. "It is most unfortunate that the agency failed to act to eliminate risks and vulnerabilities of unauthorized access to this sensitive data," Smith said. "Congress must now take swift and decisive action to make sure our veterans are not in any way penalized by this identity theft and to make the VA puts real security protections in place," he said.
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